GDP Grew in Fourth Quarter
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported that the national gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 2.8 percent for the fourth quarter 2011. The rate was further accelerated over the third quarter 2011 increase of 1.8 percent. The growth was a manifestation of positive private inventory investment contributions, personal consumption expenditures, exports, residential fixed investment, and non-residential fixed investment. These contributions were partly offset by decreases in federal, state, and local government spending. Additionally, the national import rate increased affecting further negative contributions from the GDP.
The price index for gross domestic purchases, a measurement of product prices U.S. residents pay, rose 0.8 percent during the fourth quarter; increasing a full 1 percent when excluding food and energy prices. Expenditures for personal consumption rose 2 percent during the quarter, especially in durable goods (14.8 percent). Nondurable goods increased by 1.7 percent and services rose by 0.2 percent. All personal consumption expenditures increased at an accelerated rate over third quarter 2011 data.
Exports of goods and services increased by 4.7 percent while imports of goods and services rose by 4.4 percent. The rate of increase in exports remained the same compared to third quarter results while rate of increase in imports rose by 3.2 percentage points, up from 1.2 percent in the third quarter 2011. Expenditures for federal government fell 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter after rising by 2.1 percent in the third quarter. National defense expenditures dropped 12.5, drastically offsetting the 5 percent gain experienced in the third quarter. Nondefense expenditures grew by 4.2 percent in quarter four, up from 3.2 percent of the previous quarter.